House passes ‘unthinkable’ NRA-backed bill lifting local gun restrictions

Ex-congresswoman Gabby Giffords attacks the bill, which passed by 231 to 197 and removes states’ power to control who can carry concealed, loaded handguns

Mourners hold signs during a solidarity vigil in memory of victims of the Las Vegas shooting, in Newtown, Connecticut. Photograph: Michelle McLoughlin/Reuters

On the day of an annual vigil in Washington DC that honors the victims of American gun violence, congressional Republicans passed a Trump-endorsed bill that would eviscerate local gun restrictions, removing states’ power to control who is allowed to carry a concealed, loaded handgun in their streets.

The bill passed the House of Representatives by a margin of 231-197. Fourteen Republicans voted against while six Democrats voted for it.

Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who survived being shot in the head in a 2011 mass shooting, called the vote “unthinkable”.

break the cycle

“The House of Representatives passed a bill that would let almost anyone carry loaded, concealed firearms almost anywhere in the United States,” Giffords said in an email to gun control supporters.

Officials in New York and Los Angeles warn that the legislation would allow an unknown numbers of tourists – perhaps hundreds of thousands each year – to carry concealed handguns into America’s densest urban areas, including Times Square and the New York City subway. Big city police chiefs across the county have spoken out against the bill, calling it a law enforcement nightmare.

The bill, which is the National Rifle Association’s “number one legislative priority” has prompted a renewed battle over states’ rights, with Democrats for once arguing against the power of the federal government, and Republicans hoping to use that federal power to undermine local control.

“It’s so transparently hypocritical. Republicans spend all day talking about states’ rights, except when it comes to guns. When it comes to guns, they want to take away states’ ability to make decisions for themselves,” Senator Chris Murphy, a leading gun control advocate who represents Newtown, Connecticut, said Tuesday, in advance of the vote.

The NRA called the vote a “watershed moment,” one more step in what the group’s chief lobbyist, Chris Cox, described as a “30-year movement” to ensure that Americans can carry their self-defense weapons across state lines.

Despite an easy victory in the House, the bill faces a much more uphill battle in the Senate, where it would…

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